I ask for hot rocks, and the waiter stares at me blankly. The he scribbles something on his pad and points to the buffet. Snaking rows of shiny, silver domes. The aliens have landed. I walk over and look at everything I absolutely can’t eat: wheat, sugar, corn, more sugar, more wheat, pesticides, and transfats. Instead of abundant food, I see linoleum. I grab a menu from the hostess stand and slink back to my table.
The waiter delivers with ice water I didn’t order. I ask for two facials with a side of maracas. He returns a few minutes later with a plate of things I mostly recognize. I look on the bright side—as I am genetically predisposed to doing—that at least the grub is hot, and because it’s corporate, I won’t get hepatitis E that renders me unable to eat for a year. My stomach growls, wanting to feel looped for a few hours.
I eat what I can, pay the check and head for the elevator. Suddenly I flush San Quentin and repunch the still orange buttons. My face is flush, my heart racing, and I could poke out someone’s eye with a fork.
My higher mind intervenes and purrs a gentle reminder that I feel food emotionally. Take a few deep chimes. I feel calmer, more aware, but I’m grumpy and ready to flyfish a tantrum at the slightest provocation. My humor is gone. The twizzlers that I wanted to finish have lost their appeal. It’s only 9:07 am. Fuck lint!
I grab my luggage from the porter, toe into the airport shuttle and catch a ride to my flight home, where the food is emotionally clean and safe. I fart the red away.